Rafa Benitez reveals his Sunderland regret at Newcastle United

Rafa Benitez says a derby win over Sunderland would have changed the course of his career at Newcastle United.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 12:54 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 12:54 pm
Aleksandar Mitrovic and Rafa Benitez during the Sunderland game.

Benitez was asked if there was one game from his managerial career that he “like to relive for the wrong reasons” in a question and answer session with The Athletic.

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And the 59-year-old, now in charge of Dalian Yifang, chose the 1-1 draw between Newcastle and Sunderland at St James’s Park late in the 2015/16 season when the two clubs were fighting relegation.

Aleksandar Mitrovic – who equalised in the 83rd minute – was forced off with concussion late in the game. Newcastle were relegated, while Sunderland stayed up.

“When I first came to Newcastle, the Sunderland game that was a draw and we lost Mitrovic in the last few minutes – that game could have been crucial,” said Benitez. “Sunderland and Norwich were close to us, so it could have changed everything if we had won.”